The NBA has detailed specifics for its resumed season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The plan includes accommodations for 22 teams in three hotels, while players must wear MagicBands and will have access to barbers and other amenities.
ESPN and The Athletic obtained a 113-page document the league sent to players on Tuesday. The 2019-2020 NBA season was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to resume July 30 in Orlando.
The top 16 teams in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference will join six teams within six games of the respective eighth seeds in Orlando.
The majority of the teams are scheduled to arrive in Orlando in early July. The Toronto Raptors are the only team who won’t arrive in Orlando at the same time as the other squads. They are expected to convene at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla., due to quarantine rules and travel issues from Canada to the United States.
The resumed season is scheduled to end in October with the NBA Finals. Games will be played on the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
Players will have access to golf courses, game rooms, fishing areas, bowling, barbers and more as part of the restart plan. They will also be tested regularly for the coronavirus and must adhere to physical distancing and mask-wearing policies.
Game days will include a team breakfast, transportation to one of three courts, a shootaround with virtual media availability, transportation back to a hotel, lunch, two hours of downtime, pre-game transportation to the court, warmups, and a game before post-game meetings, media availability and transportation back to hotels.
If a player tests positive for the virus, they will first be placed in isolated housing separate from the team’s hotel. They will be administered a second test for COVID-19 as soon as possible and remain in isolated housing if that test comes back positive. If tests return a negative result, players will be tested for a third time. Players will have to test negative twice in the span of more than 24 hours to leave isolation.
The NBA will use video technology to contact trace for individuals who tests positive for the virus. Any people who were within six feet of a positive-test person for at least 15 minutes will also be tested.
Players have until June 24 to inform their teams if they plan to participate in the resumed season. League owners and the players’ union agreed that any player who chooses not to play will have their compensation reduced by 1/92.6th for each missed game, for up to 14 games.
Players who are believed to be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 — and receive the “protected” designation from their teams — can opt out of the season and not lose salary. Players can also be “excused” if a panel of three medical experts determine they have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Players who want to be listed as “excused” must notify the team and union of their intention by June 25. Team staff members also can choose not to participate in the season in Orlando.
Everyone who arrives on the new NBA campus must certify in writing that they agree to all protocols and league rules while in attendance. Teams must inform the league of potential violations of the protocols. The NBA will also establish an anonymous hotline for participants to report potential violations.
Teams are allowed to travel in groups of up to 37 people on campus. That group can include 15 to 17 players, 18 to 20 support staff members, a public relations official and a content creator. Teams can share medical staff, public relations staff, equipment attendants and mental health professionals.
Any player who leaves the NBA campus without prior approval will be required to enter a process that includes enhanced testing, a 10 to 14 day quarantine period, and a reduction in compensation for any game they miss as a result of their absence and/or quarantine. Players can leave campus for some circumstances, like the birth of a child, a documented severe illness or family death, or a scheduled family wedding.
Players will stay at the Disney World: the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Yacht Club Resort. They will have access to a players-only lounge with TVs, arcade games, video games and pingpong. A 24-hour VIP concierge, movie screenings and DJ sets could also be available to players.
Players will be required to wear a Disney MagicBand on their wrists to enter hotel rooms, for security checkpoints and to check in to coronavirus testing and medical screenings.
Each team will have a dedicated culinary team for three to four meals per day. Chaplains, yoga, medication, barbers, manicures, pedicures and hair braiders will also be available.
Failure to comply with the protocols can lead to warnings, fines, suspensions and removal from the campus.